So as anyone who’s ever tried my banana lasagne will know, I like to think outside the proverbial box. This has come in very handy whilst being a parent as there are often a lot of tricky problems to be solved. The first occasion I had to use the ‘if-its-broke-fix-it approach’ was when my 4-month-old took to wailing and flailing at around 4pm, an awfully long time before DH was due to come home. I finally worked out that a short walk at that time worked a treat and the problem was solved. It took a while for me to try something else rather than ploughing on with the same relentless approach – I guess I’m saying don’t just accept the status quo even when it hurts, there may be an alternative.
Since then I’ve found a million ways of making my life as a parent easier: a childcare swap with a friend saving money and getting the (second!) best childcare my sons could have, my partner and I working flexibly and part-time so we’re around the kids (along with a range of cost-cutting and income-boosting methods of surviving on this scarily low wage), blogging for sanity, cooking meals for a bunch of friends and having it reciprocated, going swimming with friends and us taking it in turns to actually swim, lots of camping holidays with friends which were actually quite relaxing and fun, working at home doing something I love and getting free books in the process, going out for pudding with hubbie when too poor to eat a whole meal out, training to teach kid’s yoga adventure sessions so I can work less for the same money I was on and be with my kids more, running all sorts of events for kids, organising a street party to get to know our neighbours better, starting a Woodcraft Folk group so my city-dwelling children could experience something of nature and the outdoors etc etc.
I do have to admit that some of my creative ideas have met with some logistical problems – Rent-A-Grannie hasn’t quite worked out – I was going to start an agency for lonesome grandparents whose kids decided not to have kids or to do it in Australia. They would be paired up with families like ours whose parents were not nearby / still with us and they could do all the grandparenty kind of stuff. There were a few child protection issues I haven’t yet smoothed out but the idea was sound (and born of my idea while walking on sunny Sundays pre-boys of an agency that you could hire children and dogs from, relieving fraught parents and giving pre-child or childless couples a fun Sunday!).
Likewise my agencies coupling up two part-time mums with similar skills so you could present your CVs for full-time jobs as a job share has yet to come of anything or my idea to make renewable energy from making children run in a huge ‘soft play’ wheel much akin to a hamster wheel. I am going to take out a patent on my bar flyesque toy wall (wall covered in velcro, toys all have a bit of velcro on, at night instead of piecing everything together back in little boxes, simply through the toys at the wall, the kid’ll help you for sure).
My latest idea, born of my concern for the mental health of many mothers – a website called ‘Panic Button’ would be for a group of mums who vowed to rescue any mums who were ‘drowning not waving’ (see my post on this famous poem). The idea is that if you couldn’t cope or felt blue, you would press your ‘panic button’ on the website and other mums would inundate you with sympathy, emails, chocolate, food, babysitting etc until you were feeling better. So the motto is, if it’s broke, do whatever it takes to fix it…